An amendment to the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act that would allow qualifying patients under 18 years of age who suffer from myoclonic-astatic epilepsy passed in the Senate on April 2.
Sen. Iris Y. Martinez introduced the bill in late January, and would add myoclonic-astatic epilepsy to the current "debilitating medical condition" list.
It is important to note that for epilepsy, the useful form of marijuana is an oil; it is not smoked. Furthermore, it is high in CBD and low in THC, the hallucinogenic component of marijuana. Accordingly, there is no alternative recreational use for this form of marijuana; it is formulated to treat seizures.
Currently the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program, which went into effect on Jan 1, does not allow anyone under the age of 18 to be a qualified patient to access medical cannabis. In fact, at that time, Colorado was the only state to allow access to medical cannabis for minors. Since then, however, several states have pushed forward with legislation to allow minors to access quality medicine in the form of CBD oil, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin, many of which are very conservative with regards to marijuana and do not have any other cannabis legislation being discussed.
The issue of CBD oil and the general consensus that cannabis is a valid medicine and should be treated as such continues to grow. State congresses are beginning to realize that they are losing families to states that do provide the medicine, and are making cases to keep these families.
The Illinois House had a first reading of the bill on April 3, and has since added 4 Alternate Chief Co-Sponsors in addition to Chief House Sponsor Rep. Lou Lang.
The Illinois Medical Cannabis Program is currently preparing final Rules and Regulations. Public Comments on all drafts have been closed.